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Mary Bourdukofsky

January 9, 1923 - June 2, 2013 <-

Mary Nicolai Bourdukofsky, 90, passed away on June 2, 2013 at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

Thursday, June 6th visitation 5pm and Panikhida service 6pm at the St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 401 Turpin Street in Anchorage. Funeral will be on St. Paul Island, Alaska on June 8th.

Mary was born January 9, 1923 on St. Paul Island to Nicolai and Olga Kozloff. Her mothering began at an early age when she lost her own mother and she helped raise her three siblings. Her father later remarried to Marina (Shane). Mary was the eldest of her eight siblings. Mary wed George Bourdukofsky in 1939 and they had seven children.

Mary loved the Russian Orthodox Church. She sang in the choir and served as president of the sisterhood in for many years in Anchorage and St. Paul. An active community member and advocate during World War II internment at Funter Bay, AK., she was instrumental in petitioning the U.S. Government about the unlivable conditions.

Mary was dedicated to preserving the Unangan (Aleut) culture, language and traditions. Mary was given the title of Stuparam Anaadaa (mending mother) from the youth at St. Paul when she participated in the Stewardship Program. She revitalized the culture by the formation of the Ataaqan Akun Dancers and shared her knowledge of native food preparation at summer camps. She also taught fur seal skin sewing, seal throat and grass basketry, and bead and bone crafts to elders and youth, and enjoyed storytelling. Mary has been invited to participate in educating youth and leaders in various venues including the Pribilof Days, Unalaska’s Qawalangin Tribe’s Culture Camp, Sand Point Culture Camp, the Urban Unangan summer culture camp, AFN Youth & Elders, AFN delegate for many years, Alaska Heritage Center, Smithsonian Institution’s Alaska Native Collections, public speaking and testimony on the experiences during the Aleut internment of World War II and on other Alaska Native issues. She remained active until her final days as an Elder Advisor for the tribal council and advisory committee member for APIA’s Cultural Heritage Department. She was honored as 2004 Aleut Corporation Elder of the Year. As a lifelong educator of traditional knowledge she understood the importance of western education and taught at UAF, UAA, and APU. She was also one of the first women on the school board in St. Paul.

She was a proud grandmother of 24 grandchildren and "Babushka" to 37 great grandchildren. Mary was a positive role model for all. She was the heart and soul of the family and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island. She was known to her family as “the Commander” and Aunty Mary to most. She loved to visit over tea and share stories of the past, teaching the importance of faith and culture.

Mary is survived by her sister Justina (Chuck) Gilmore, her sons Jason Sr. (Chauncina), Dionisy Dennis Sr., Eugene Sr., Thomas (Samantha) Bourdukofsky, her daughter-in-law Matushka Kathy Bourdukofsky and son-in-law Gregory Fratis Sr., her grandchildren Cynthia (Dan) Henry, Tara (Candice), Dixie (Eirik) Peterson, Constance (Kyle) Bergo, Dionisy Jr., Jason Jr. (Stacy), Greg Fratis Jr. (Kandace), Karen (Brian) McIntire, Benjamin Fratis, Angela, Eugene Jr. (Sharon), Peter Sr. (Stacy), Rachel, James, Michael, George (Rachael), Benedict (Juliana), Mark, Damian, Binni, Katiana (Ethan) Candyfire, Caitlin, and Carley, her great grandchildren: Greg, David, Peter, Benjamin Shaun, Colton, Dionisy Mitchell, Kyle, Vladimir Dionisy, John, Domanic, David, Brandon, Tyler, Kaleb, Mitchell, Gregory G., Gregory J., Chauncey, Benjamin, Miles, Jason III, Elias, Peter Darin Jr., Gunnar, Alyssa, Linnae, Haley, Chloe, Heather, Jaycee, Jaydin, Kylee, Alexia Marie, Alexis, Evdokia and Kristin. Sister in-law Ludmilla Mandregan, nieces and nephews: John, Nicolai, Patrick and Henry (Jody) Kozloff, Ron (Lori), Evelyn, Becky, Phillip Sr. Philemonoff, Gladys (Pete) Malone, Margaret Misikin, Nina Simeonoff, Laura Lestenkof, Darlene Melovidov, Macarius (Stephanie) Mandregan Sr., Hedy Christensen, Linda Mandregan, Alice Drake, Sophia Margie Weeks, Timothy Gilmore, Rhonda Blackburn, Jill Gilmore, and Aquilina Lestenkof and many, many more nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents Nicolai and Olga Kozloff, husband George, sons Benjamin and Rev. Peter Bourdukofsky, daughter Mary Catherine Fratis, daughter in law Matushka Mary Janice, siblings Alexandra Philemonoff, IIiodor and Joseph Kozloff, Mary Kushin, Anna Bereskin, William and Michael Shane and granddaughter Veronica Fratis.

Mary’s wishes were for donations to be made to Sts. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in St. Paul, AK 99660 in lieu of flowers.

A celebration of life will be determined and announced at a later date in Anchorage.

View obituary at
Janssen Funeral Homes

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